Followup: Driver who hit Jade West Cafe owner pleads guilty

A month and a half after the Beacon Hill crash that seriously injured Jade West Cafe owner Wah Wong and his son Jason Wong, the drunk driver who hit them has pleaded guilty. King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe confirms that 50-year-old Rodney James pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular assault. He is scheduled for sentencing at 1 pm February 12th before King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector, and Donohoe says prosecutors are recommending 30 months in prison (of a possible 10 years).

According to the original charging documents, his blood-alcohol level was .16 at the scene, twice the legal limit, and beer was found inside his car. The crash happened while he was “on a suspended sentence for reckless driving (amended from driving under the influence)” in a case from 11 months earlier, and James also had a record that included escaping from a Pennsylvania maximum-security prison in 1981 (without a description of why he was there). Jason Wong lost a leg after the crash; he and his father are both now home after weeks of inpatient care, but the restaurant’s future is not yet determined.

One thing for sure; The family has a pile of medical bills; donations can be made to the Save Jade West Cafe Fund at any Wells Fargo branch.

4 Replies to "Followup: Driver who hit Jade West Cafe owner pleads guilty"

  • Marty January 29, 2010 (1:26 pm)

    I’m sure he was uninsured too. The mandatory insurance laws and suspended license laws in this state are really weak. Several states have you give up your plates for either of the two. It’s time we do something similar.

  • grr January 29, 2010 (2:28 pm)

    he needs to do the MAX time that the law will allow. MINIMUM of 5 years, for sure. Any way we can email the prosecutors office??

    • WSB January 29, 2010 (2:33 pm)

      The judge is the person who makes the final decision and I linked her name to her info – that’s who I would recommend contacting. However, as I recall from covering previous sentences, you certainly can contact the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office too. And anyone who can get to court, I noticed when being singled out just for COVERING a hearing sometime back, the presence of people from a community is not necessarily lost on the decisionmakers, either. Anyway, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office contact info is on their webpage:

  • grr January 30, 2010 (12:46 am)

    thanks for the link. If possible, I’ll go to the hearing.. At any rate..the emails will start asap.

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